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Manatee County repairs sinkholes at Bradenton shopping plaza

Despite fines, the delinquent property owner has failed to address the issue

BRADENTON – Manatee County has decided to use taxpayer money to fix sinkholes in a Bradenton shopping plaza.

Officials say the depressions formed after the property owner failed to repair underground pipes.

Deon Sarlls has owned Plato's Closet here at Cortez Plaza East for 12 years. Business was good, until two years ago.

"It started in one spot and it slowly migrated to two or three other spots,” Sarlls recalled.

Sinkholes have formed in the parking lot because of broken storm-water pipes.

Manatee County says the pipe system dates to the 1950s. The pipes are corroded from rust and the leaking water caused these holes.

β€œIt's created a deficit in the bottom of the pipe which has led to erosion which has led to the holes that have opened up in the parking lot,” explained Manatee County Field Maintenance Division Manager Myra Prater.

Officials say the property owner, Bradenton Associates, LLC, is responsible for repairs. But despite daily fines, nothing has been done.